PLATO’s Board of Directors provides fiduciary, governing, and policy-making oversight for the organization.
The mission of PLATO’s Academic Advisory Board is to contribute to developing and sustaining PLATO’s educational programs.
The Student Advisory Council is made up of high school students interested in assuming leadership roles at PLATO. The Council is working to improve access to philosophical education.
If you are interested in joining the Student Advisory Council, please send your name, high school and grade, and a brief description of your interest to Student Advisory Council Chair Charles de Belloy at email@example.com.
Members of PLATO’s Founders Circle were part of PLATO’s founding Board of Directors and continue to support PLATO’s programs and initiatives.
The Executive Committee, composed of PLATO’s officers, acts on behalf of the Board between regularly scheduled Board meetings, during emergencies, or when it is not practical or feasible for the Board to meet.
Allison Cohen, President
Roberta Israeloff, Vice-President
Kyle Robertson, Secretary
Aaron Yarmel, Treasurer
Ariel Sykes, Chair of Academic Advisory Board
Staff: Jana Mohr Lone
The Conference Committee is responsible for planning, organizing, and evaluating PLATO’s Biennial Conference, as well as identifying opportunities for PLATO members to present or attend other organizations’ conferences related to the work of PLATO. The committee includes both board and community members.
Christiane Wisehart, Chair
Staff: Cassie Finley
The Development Committee assists in fundraising, marketing, outreach, communication, and related development matters, including the development planning process. The committee includes both board and community members.
Debi Talukdar, Chair
Carmen Maria Marcous
Haley Thompson (intern)
Staff: Jana Mohr Lone and Cassie Finley
The Finance Committee is composed of board members who assist PLATO in monitoring the integrity of PLATO’s financial reporting process and systems of fiscal controls regarding finance, accounting, and audit, and in ensuring compliance with legal and ethical standards.
Aaron Yarmel, Chair
Staff: Jana Mohr Lone
The Governance Committee is composed of board members with responsibility for the nomination process for new directors; overseeing board accountability, self-evaluations, and satisfaction; strategic planning; and periodically reviewing and assisting PLATO in developing and updating organizational policies.
Roberta Israeloff, Chair
Staff: Jana Mohr Lone
The Media Committee is responsible for enhancing PLATO’s media profile; identifying media resources and PLATO media representatives; and cultivating a media-aware organizational culture. The committee includes both board and community members.
Laurie Grady, Chair
Carmen Maria Marcous
Staff: Cassie Finley
The Program Committee is responsible for identifying new program opportunities in accordance with PLATO’s mission and vision; helping to oversee program development; and assisting with planning and organization for PLATO’s national, regional, and local programs. The committee includes both board and community members.
Kenneth Clatterbaugh, Chair
Staff: Jana Mohr Lone and Cassie Finley
The Research Committee is responsible for developing and gathering resources that strengthen, promote, and support research on philosophy for young people and other public philosophy programs, especially programs administered by PLATO and PLATO Partner Organizations; collaborating with other PLATO committees to connect research priorities with existing efforts; and connecting with outside organizations, especially across disciplines, to bolster research on philosophy for young people and other public philosophy programs. The committee includes both board and community members.
Michael Vazquez, Chair
Staff: Cassie Finley
The P4 editorial board is responsible for all aspects of the publication of PLATO’s journal P4. The editorial board includes both board and community members.
Kristopher Phillips, Editor in Chief
Karen Emmerman, Associate Editor
Kelly Laas, Managing Editor
Roberta Israeloff, Editorial Advisor
Michael D. Burroughs, Founding Editor
The Questions editorial board is responsible for all aspects of the publication of PLATO’s journal Questions. The editorial board includes both board and community members.
Stone Addington and Ariel Sykes, Editors-in-Chief
Jana Mohr Lone
Jana Mohr Lone is the co-founder of PLATO and for many years was the director of the University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children, before its 2022 merger with PLATO. She is Affiliate Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Washington, and the author of the books Seen and Not Heard (2021) and The Philosophical Child (2012); co-author of the textbook Philosophy in Education: Questioning and Dialogue in Schools (2016); co-editor of Philosophy and Education: Introducing Philosophy to Young People (2012); and author of many articles about young people’s philosophical thinking. Jana has been leading philosophy sessions with students from preschool to graduate school for 25 years. She has a Ph.D. in philosophy and a J.D. She lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Allison Cohen is an Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Philosophy teacher at Langley High School in McLean, VA. She is dedicated to bringing quality philosophy curricula to high schools across the nation and expanding opportunities for students to engage in philosophical questioning and reasoning. Allison has presented papers at several national conferences on topics such as: critical thinking, argument diagramming, affirmative action, and genetic enhancement. She is an adjunct professor at American University where she teaches Essentials of Effective Instruction for the Department of Education. Allison also serves on the Boards of Directors for Street Law, a national nonprofit committed to preserving and enhancing civics education in our schools, and the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum.
Arik Ben-Avi is a Seattle-based educator, writing coach, and content developer, working to help young people connect more deeply with themselves and others through the kind of honest reflection and dialogue that’s supported by good philosophy. Before moving to Seattle, Arik received an M.Phil. in Philosophy from Yale University, focusing on ethics and moral psychology, with a particular interest in forgiveness and acceptance. Arik’s involvement in pre-college philosophy began when he co-founded the Yale Philosophy Outreach Program, and his interest in making philosophy engaging and accessible to learners of all ages continues as Associate Director for Wireless Philosophy.
Karen S. Emmerman started teaching philosophy classes at John Muir Elementary in Seattle in 2010 and has worked as their Philosopher-in-Residence since 2013. She has taught a high school philosophy class and has facilitated teacher trainings in pre-college philosophy for many years. Karen teaches a course in philosophy for children at the University of Washington and mentors graduate and undergraduate students. She was the Education Director of the University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children before it merged with PLATO in 2022. Karen is part-time faculty in the philosophy department at the University of Washington and writes in ecofeminism, animal ethics, and philosophy for children as well as serving as associate editor of the journal Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice. karensemmerman.com
Roberta Israeloff has directed the Squire Family Foundation since its inception in 2007. The Foundation advocates for the inclusion of philosophy in elementary and secondary schools, and co-founded both PLATO and the National High School Ethics Bowl. She co-edited , and is on the editorial board of . In her thirty-five-year writing career, she has published numerous essays, short stories, book reviews, and books including, mostly recently, , co-edited with Karen Mizell.
Steven Goldberg teaches philosophy at Harper College and at Northwestern University’s Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning. He taught history and philosophy over three decades at Oak Park River Forest High School. He also taught A-Level philosophy in England during a Fulbright teaching exchange, developed and taught a summer program for high school students at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, and led workshops on teaching philosophy at University of Chicago’s Graham School. Goldberg also served on the APA’s CPIP Committee. He is the author of Two Patterns of Rationality in Freud’s Writings (University of Alabama Press, 1988) and co-editor of Technological Change and the Transformation of America (Southern Illinois University Press, 1987). In 2005 he received the National Council on Social Studies Award for Global Understanding.
Debi Talukdar has been facilitating K-12 philosophy classes since 2014 and was the Philosopher-in-Residence at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, Seattle, from 2018-2021. She also facilitates educator workshops and organizes a monthly seminar for individuals interested in philosophy with young people. She was previously Program Director at the University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children before it merged with PLATO in 2022. Debi is a former instructor at the University of Washington College of Education and former ensemble member at Theater for Change UW. She currently lives in Oakland, CA. https://www.linkedin.com/in/debi-talukdar-35412345/
Mitch Green is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut. He received a BA from UC Berkeley, a B.Phil. from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He has published around ninety articles in journals, encyclopedias, or as book chapters, as well as five books including Engaging Philosophy: A Brief Introduction; Know Thyself: The Value and Limits of Self-Knowledge, and The Philosophy of Language. Since 2008 he has led Project High-Phi, which supports philosophical exploration in American high schools. Currently he oversees teachers in Connecticut who offer dual-enrollment philosophy courses in their schools whereby students earn both high school and college credit.
Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at Maynooth University where he coordinates the department’s initial teacher education programme and teaches courses in Philosophy of Education, Pedagogy, and Educational Research Methods. His research focuses on the role of the facilitator in dialogic pedagogies. completed his doctorate in Pedagogy and Philosophy at Montclair State University where is also worked extensively with the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC) conducting philosophy sessions in schools, coordinating teachers support services and mentoring practitioners. It is through his work with the IAPC that became involved with the development of PLATO.
Kyle Robertson is a Continuing Lecturer in the UC Santa Cruz philosophy and legal studies departments and the Managing Director of the Center for Public Philosophy at UC Santa Cruz, which he helped found in 2015. He founded and directs the Northern California High School Ethics Bowl program, teaches as part of Mount Tamalpais College at San Quentin State Prison, and regularly speaks and publishes on public philosophy.
Aaron Yarmel is the Associate Director of the Center for Ethics and Human Values at The Ohio State University, where his research interests include philosophy for children, social change, and two-level utilitarianism. In addition to overseeing all CEHV programs, Aaron leads its efforts on dialogue facilitation and skill building, outreach, and the ETHOS Fellows program. He is also the Founding Director of Philosophy Counseling and Consulting, an organization that offers philosophical counseling. He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Outside his academic work, Aaron has been an animal rights activist and a vegan since 2011.
Monsieree de Castro has been working in the non-profit sphere for more than a decade. Her career has brought her from working as an Education Specialist at an elementary school in Phoenix, Arizona, to running large political events in Washington, D.C. and organizing projects around the world on the advocacy team at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. Monsieree returned to Seattle to contribute her skills and experience to her hometown by working with community groups around the city on advocacy projects and running events uplifting the work of local artists and creatives. Monsieree received her B.A. in Sociology and International Relations from Gonzaga University and credits her Jesuit education for her passion for philosophy and never-ending curiosity for the world around her.
Kate Goldyn was for many years the outreach coordinator for the University of Washington Department of Philosophy and for the former UW Center for Philosophy for Children before its merger with PLATO in 2022. She enjoys sharing with others the importance of philosophy and how relevant it is to everything we do. She makes sure to take time to wonder with her three children and ask why questions
Ariel Sykes is the Assistant Director of the Ethics Institute at Kent Place School. She has worked in the philosophy for children community for over ten years and specializes in dialogic teaching strategies, argumentation, and ethics instruction. She received her B.A from Mount Holyoke College and her M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University in the field of Philosophy and Education. Ariel is the co-founder of the New York City High School Ethics Bowl and an endorsed practitioner of the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children.
Thomas E. Wartenberg is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Mount Holyoke College. He is a former board president of PLATO. Among his publications are Big Ideas for Little Kids: Teaching Philosophy Through Children’s Literature, A Sneetch is a Sneetch and Other Philosophical Discoveries: Finding Wisdom in Children’s Literature, and Thinking Through Stories: Philosophy, Children, and Picture Books. His philosophy for children website, teachingchildrenphilosophy.org, was awarded the 2011 APA/PDC Prize for Excellence and Innovations in Philosophy Programs. He received the 2013 Merritt Prize from Northern Illinois University for his contributions to the philosophy of education.
Sian Charles-Harris is a postdoctoral researcher with the Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut. Sian’s research considers the role of philosophy in preparing teachers for the ethical, political, and social demands of the profession. As a former middle and high school humanities teacher, Sian is particularly interested in how philosophical inquiry, when applied to literature instruction, might help young people develop deeper understandings of history, the present, themselves, and others. When she's not teaching or thinking about teaching, Sian enjoys practicing yoga and experimenting with spicy recipes from her favorite cooking shows. Her values of mindfulness, empathy, and curiosity inform her work as a philosopher and educator, and she is passionate about PLATO’s mission to increase opportunities for historically excluded young people to practice philosophical inquiry.
Laurie Grady has been teaching for over 20 years in the Philadelphia area and has been teaching at Haverford Senior High School in Havertown, PA since 2004. Some of the courses she teaches are Advanced Placement Language and Composition, English Language Arts, and electives such as Shakespeare, Creative Writing, and Literature & Philosophy. She is committed to the inclusion of critical and philosophical thinking and communication in all her courses. Laurie has served in leadership roles for both students and colleagues, most recently as a sponsor for her school's nationally winning HI-Q team and as chairperson on the Faculty Advisory Committee. She is passionate about communicating the potential of philosophical inquiry to other teachers and dedicated to exploring practical ways to expand P4C to more schools and homes.
Kelly Laas is the Librarian of the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at the Illinois Institute of Technology. She works on developing resources and strategies to help integrate ethics into university-level courses and research projects in engineering and the sciences. She is also currently the Upper Midwest Regional Representative for the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl and has worked extensively with colleagues from the Chicago area to help organize the Chicago High School Ethics Bowl. Kelly is also the managing editor of PLATO's journal Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice (P4).
Charlie is a Franco-American student at the Lycée Français de San Francisco. He is interested in philosophy and ethics, notably Nietsche.
Haley Thompson is a doctoral student at Loyola University Chicago studying bioethics and health policy. She graduated from DePauw University and previously worked as the K-12 Ethics Education Graduate Fellow for The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics. She has research experience with a primary focus in children’s moral reasoning development. Haley has a passion for studying pediatric ethics, organizational ethics, and philosophy for children. She currently lives in Indianapolis, IN.Haley is a doctoral student at Loyola University Chicago studying bioethics and health policy. She graduated from DePauw University and previously worked as the K-12 Ethics Education Graduate Fellow for The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics. She has research experience with a primary focus in children’s moral reasoning development. Haley has a passion for studying pediatric ethics, organizational ethics, and philosophy for children. She currently lives in Indianapolis, IN.
Kate Given is a senior at the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California. She began her work with PLATO in 2022 as the Social Media Intern and is also a member of the Student Advisory Council. Kate was named a finalist in the 2023 American Philosophy Open and has worked with Southern California school districts to create and implement a hands-on, arts-based philosophy curriculum in local elementary school classrooms. She has been published in PLATO’s journal, Questions: Philosophy for Young People, and hopes to continue her pursuit of philosophical writing at the collegiate level.
David Shapiro is a faculty member at Cascadia College, where he teaches college philosophy classes that draw heavily upon his experiences and lesson plans for doing philosophy with pre-college students. He has been doing philosophy with young people in and around the Seattle area since he was a graduate student at the University of Washington way back in the 20th century. David is the author and/or co-author of six books, including Plato Was Wrong! Footnotes on Doing Philosophy with Young People, a compendium of activities, exercises, and games he has developed for exploring philosophical questions in the classroom and beyond.
Diana is a junior at the Dalton School in NYC. She has taken various college courses for credit and is developing a philosophy podcast with three of her peers.
Alexandra Chang is a middle school English teacher in Michigan. Previously, she taught for four years in Boston Public Schools. Alex studied philosophy and education at Carleton College, where she first began teaching philosophy in local schools. As a teacher, Alex continues to develop philosophy lesson plans for middle school students, as well as consider the intersection between philosophy, social-emotional learning, and restorative practices. Most recently, Alex has collaborated with A2Ethics in Ann Arbor to develop a workshop for local teachers interested in expanding the use of philosophy in their core classes.
Mitchell Conway is a Facilitator at Cottonwood Agile Learning Center, a Community Philosopher at Merlin CCC, and a Philosophy Instructor at Carroll College. He is a student of philosophy, a theater maker, and a teacher who cares ardently about empowering young learners; his work often interweaves education, story, and inquiry. He has a Masters degree in Philosophy & Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and he trained at the Institute for the Advanced of Philosophy for Children. In addition to serving on the Academic Advisory Committee for PLATO, he is also on the Editorial Board for the journal Questions.
Christiane Wisehart is the Associate Director of Content at The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University. In collaboration with the community engagement team, she developed a robust K-12 ethics education initiative in 2019. As part of this ongoing work, she runs creative workshops (also known as design sprints) and advises the content development team to create accessible, practical, and engaging ethics education classroom materials. is also the host and producer of the Examining Ethics podcast. While she has experience engaging and communicating with a variety of audiences, she focuses most of her projects on K-12 outreach and on reaching the general public with ethics education content.
Marisa Diaz-Waian chairs the PLATO Education Committee. She is the founder and director of Merlin CCC – a public philosophy non-profit in Helena, MT. A community philosopher and generalist by nature, training, and practice, Marisa happily hangs her hat at Merlin Nature Preserve where she lives and serves as its trustee and steward. She has a special interest in ethics, ancient philosophy, existentialism, humor, and “fuzzy” topics at the intersection of philosophy and psychology. Her work focuses on philosophy in the community, frequently with an interdisciplinary, environmental, and intergenerational bent.
Chloe is a student at Xavier College Preparatory in Arizona. She enjoys reading and studying Kantian literature and postmodernism. Outside of philosophy, she enjoys practicing Korean calligraphy and industrial design.
Melissa Diamond is a Ph.D. student in the University of Washington College of Education’s Social and Cultural Foundations program. She graduated from UW with a B.A. in philosophy and a B.S. in computer science in 2020 and earned an M.Ed. in Social and Cultural Foundations in 2023, also from UW. Her research is in the philosophy of education, with a focus on the ethics of education in the context of the global climate crisis. She also served as a Graduate Fellow with PLATO from 2021-2023. In her free time, Melissa loves to cook and bake, backpack, and dabble in various arts and crafts projects.
Dan Fouts has been high school social studies teacher since 1993 in the Chicagoland area, teaching US history, AP government, American studies and, most recently, a philosophy elective which he designed in 2011. Outside of the classroom, he has presented extensively at the state and national level on inquiry-based instruction techniques, in addition to working with PLATO and the American Philosophical Association to bring philosophy into K-12 classrooms in the United States. He is a co-founder of Teach Different, a professional development organization which helps teachers and students master the art and science of classroom conversations using a simple protocol which combines quotes, claims, counterclaims and essential questions.
Claire Katz is Professor and Interim Department Head of Teaching, Learning, and Culture at Texas A&M University. She was named a Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence and a Piper Professor in the state of Texas. She conducts research and teaches courses at the intersection of philosophy, education, gender, and Jewish studies. She recently published Growing Up with Philosophy Camp: How Learning to Think Develops Friendship, Community, and a Sense of Self (R&L, 2020) and Philosophy Camps for Youth (R&L 2021). She founded/directs P4C Texas and the Aggie School of Athens Philosophy Summer Camp for Teens.
Leo Cunningham (he/him) is a rising junior at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts. He is co-head of this school's debate club, which recently competed in its first Ethics Bowl competition. In addition to philosophy and history, Leo enjoys computer programming and is interested in exploring ethical aspects of AI and technology.
Colin Pierce has been an educator for 14 years and is a passionate advocate for equity in education and elevating youth voice and agency in the matters most important to them. He taught at Rainier Beach High School in south Seattle for eight years and coached teams in the Washington State Ethics Bowl for seven. Born in Oakland, California, he received his Bachelor's degree from Sarah Lawrence College and his Master of Arts in Teaching from Lewis & Clark College. He currently works for the City of Seattle's Department of Education and Early Learning and serves on the Washington State Leadership Board, among other volunteer activities.
John Torrey is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and a contributing professor in the Africana Studies unit at SUNY Buffalo State. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Spanish from Morehouse College (2009) and an MA and Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Memphis (2019). His primary research interests are in the intersection of political philosophy, applied ethics, and African-American philosophy, specifically with regards to calls for Black reparations in America. Additionally, he has interests in philosophy of education and pre-college philosophy. He also has developed precollege philosophy programs since 2010, Philosophical Horizons at the University of Memphis and the Buffalo State Lyceum.
Specializing in philosophy for children and the history of philosophy, Wendy C. Turgeon is presently the chair of the Department of Philosophy at St. Joseph’s College, where she has been teaching courses since 1991. One of the leading proponents of the freshman honors program, Dr. Turgeon coordinates the program in addition to teaching one of its core courses. She has also incorporated global education into many of the philosophy classes at the College and is a passionate advocate for study abroad. Dr. Turgeon was also instrumental in creating the College’s minor in women’s studies.
David Gibson is a homeschooled high school junior. He is the captain of his ethics bowl team, has taken university courses on political philosophy and ethics, and is currently developing a series of workshops to bring political philosophy to local area students.
Wendy Way is a social studies teacher at Bethpage High School, a public school on Long Island. She has taught world history at BHS for 27 years and has taught a philosophy elective for the last 20 years. Wendy is also the advisor for the philosophy club and is the coach for her school’s ethics bowl team. She enjoys attending the bi-annual PLATO conferences and is always looking for ways to expand the philosophy curriculum and find engaging ways to introduce philosophical concepts to students.
Dustin Webster is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania where he serves as the Co-Director for Penn’s Project for Philosophy for the Young. In addition to philosophy for children and pre-college philosophy, Dustin's research interests include normative evaluations of using education for social mobility, the relationship of education to work, character and virtue education, and educational ethics. He has a professional background in K-12 education with experience in a variety of contexts, including most recently as a 5th grade teacher. Dustin received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education where he studied the philosophy of education.
Kate Given is a senior at the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California. She loves film, theater, and art history, and is most passionate about the work of aestheticians and epistemologists from Ancient Greece and Enlightenment-era Europe. She also loves to travel and spends her free time enjoying museums and plays around the world.
Zoë (she/they) is a senior at Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie, NY. She’s always been interested in both gender studies and philosophy, and has taken a variety of philosophy/ethics classes throughout all four years of highschool to cultivate the latter interest. In addition to philosophy and gender studies, Zoë is passionate about the humanities in general.
George Jabren is a junior at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the president of his school’s philosophy club and a member of his schools policy debate team. George also started his school’s philosophy reading club, and is founding an Ethics Bowl team this year. He particularly enjoys reading postmodern theories: notably, those relating to international relations for their applications in policy debate as well. Additionally, George is a flutist, playing in local wind ensembles.
Gayathri Kaimal (she/her) is a senior at Wilton High School in Wilton, Connecticut. Her passion for Ancient Greek and Latin, along with her love for debate, led her to philosophy. She is particularly fascinated by Ancient ethics and logic, and their connection to the modern day. Through her work at PLATO, Gayathri hopes to expand access to pre-college philosophy.
Liam Lobl is a student at Ardsley High School in New York. He competes in Lincoln-Douglas debate, in which he enjoys reading Deleuzian literature. Outside of debate, he is interested in various philosophies of emotion and environmental ethics, especially as related to outer space policy.
Nava is a sophomore at Atlanta International School. Her interest in philosophy has grown out of her passion for equity and social justice. She has taken several classes on philosophy, and she hopes to make similar opportunities accessible to other students through the PLATO Student Advisory Council.
Richa Shukla is a senior at University High School in Normal, Illinois. She has been interested in philosophy from a young age, and she joined PLATO Student Advisory Council to introduce more philosophy education in her community. Richa hopes to make philosophy accessible for many, because it encourages many to think critically about the world around them.
Edie Strianese is a rising junior at Oakwood Friends School in NY. They became interested in philosophy through ethics classes and have participated in Ethics Bowl the past two years. They also enjoy discussions surrounding history and politics.